Mother in Law

Last week, my mother in law had the PICC removed from her arm and yesterday she returned to her home.

She is the one who wanted to get back to her home and I understand that feeling. However, I do miss her being around. Unlike the stereotypical mother in law – son in law relationship, I very much enjoy her being at the house

One thing I did notice is her mental acuity and mood seems far better than it has been in the past several years and I think it has to do with her interacting with people. She is 84 and lives alone in her house. All of her friends are now dead, or have been “taken” be dementia and are now in a nursing home. Add the COVID-19 precautions and, to me, she has been merely existing.

My wife plays bluegrass music with 3 other people…a 60 year old man, the 90 year old father of the 60 year old man, and an 80 year old man. Myself, the wife of the 60 year old man and the wife of the 80 year old man come along to listen. The 90 year old man is a widower and is mentally *very* sharp–talking about everything from history and current events to politics.

We would always try to get my mother in law to come along with us, but it was always, “No. It’s too far out of your way and I don’t wan to be a bother”. This was despite our assurances that it was no bother to drive the 3 miles out of our way to go get her.

When she was here, the “3 miles” was not an available ‘excuse’, so she would come along with us.

Now, even with her being back at her home, she has said, “I hope you can come get me for the next jam. I enjoy them a lot.” My wife and I are thrilled.


Since my mother-in-law is home from hospital, some aspects of her continuing treatment fall upon my wife (her daughter) and myself (her son-in-law).

She gets 2 grams of an antibiotic each day through a PICC. A PICC is a long thin tube that is inserted into a vein in the left arm and the tube is pushed in far enough to end just above the heart. The other end of this tube is outside the skin and has valve on it. This valve closes automatically when there is no syringe attached…this prevents blood from coming out the PICC. There is also a clamp that gets closed unless the PICC is actively being used. The clamp is a backup in case the automatic valve fails.

In case you want to see what this whole thing looks like, searching for PICC with any of the internet search engines will show all sorts of descriptions and images.

The PICC has several things that need to be checked; no sign of infection where the tube exits her body, ensuring the tube doesn’t start to come out, that the end of the tube inside the body doesn’t become clogged by clotted blood.

The daily noon-time process takes about 15 minutes and is the same each day except for Monday. On Monday there is additionally a blood sample taken and the sample is sent to the medical testing lab.

The results of the lab analysis are sent to the physician so the physician can decide “what’s next”.

Sweet Pea, the Cat.

My mother in law has a cat, Sweet Pea, that is in the end stages of congestive heart failure.  There is one last trip to be made to the vet and a flurry of good byes.   It will be soon.

Sweet Pea was an older cat that had been in the shelter for several months, and even with the waived adoption fee, apparently no one seemed to notice the small gray and white cat waiting patiently for someone to love.  Her fate was grim until my mother in law noticed her and brought her home.

My mother in law saved Sweet Pea’s life and Sweet Pea returned the favor by helping to lead my mother in law out of the darkness of the recent loss of her husband of 60 years.

She is upset about this turn of events, but she understands it is the kindest act left in a long list of kind acts between the two of them.